Project Description

Walking the solar system’ is a simple activity that primarily involves walking and a little bit of maths (adding and subtracting). This fun activity will show you how far each planet is from its neighbouring one but also help reflect on the overall distance from the Sun at each planet.

What you need to do:

  1. Pick a starting point (the Sun) e.g. at the end of a garden, playground etc.
  2. Using the ratios above (0.4 could be 0.4 steps, 0.4 feet or 0.4 metres / 40cm – if children are picking, make sure they keep it within reason as otherwise it may get more difficult as we travel further away i.e. no measurements in car lengths or pasties), walk to each planet using this ratio. You will have to work out the difference in distance between each planet e.g. to get from Mercury to Venus they will have to subtract 0.7-0.4=0.3 steps
  3. Once you have reached the planet, you can mark or take a photo to where you have ended up
  4. When reaching Pluto (the final destination), look at your starting point and see how far away it is from you. (This will vary depending on the scale of the ratio used).

How far is it to Mars from the Earth? What about Neptune? Let’s take a walk through our Solar System.

The order of the planets of the Solar System and the ratios that they are from the Sun are as follows – feel free to set your own distance or paces for each step (for example, the ratio of the distance between the Sun and the Earth is 1 and this can be a metre or a step.. it’s all up to you!).

Your job is to travel to each planet using the correct ratios and mark down where you ended up in the table below.

Starting Point: Sun Ratio from the Sun Actual distances from the Sun (million km) Where did you end up?
Starting Point: Sun 0 0
Mercury 0.4 57
Venus 0.7 109
Earth 1.0 150
Mars 1.5 228
Ceres and the Asteroid Belt 2.6 413
Jupiter 5.2 779
Saturn 9.5 1430
Uranus 19 2880
Neptune 30 4500
Final destination: Pluto and Kuiper Belt 40 5906

So, to start you off…

We will begin our adventure from the Sun to Mercury and then carry on to the outer depths of the Solar System. The Sun to Mercury is just 0.4 paces/ metres and then traveling to the Earth would take another 0.6 paces making 1 whole pace from the Sun.

Good Luck!

walking the solar system